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thanks for the replies. I'm very impressed to see a website taking so much time to improve their screen reader accessibility :)
This was the test page that they set up. It contains 4 images of different sorts / ALT tag versions. The fourth one does now get picked up as a graphic by NVDA and the ALT tag is spoken. Graphics 2 and 3 should not have been spoken by NVDA because 2 has an empty ALT tag and 3 is a background image. I am surprised image 1 does not get picked up as a graphic because it does not have any ALT tag.
as to what I'm using ... NVDA 2019.2 and Firefox 68.0.2 (64-bit) on Win10.
The Borrow My Doggy website designers are happy with the feedback in this thread so thanks everybody for that :)